It’s tough letting her grow big. But there she goes. See her?
I’m stuck here, all spectator-like on life’s bleachers, begging God to make the sun stand still, for just one more day of Little.
It’s not her first date, for crying-out-loud. So what’s with me?
It’s just a tooth. Her first tooth fell out. That’s all. I repeat: It’s. Just. A. Tooth.
But it’s the first one to fall out. And I’m undone.
She, however, is beaming. She brings me the tooth, cupping it as if she were an archaeologist who just excavated enamel for the first time in recorded history.
I watch her cupping a smooth pearl, and I know this: letting go has a tangible quality, and it can be cupped in two hands. I know it, because she’s holding it, and I reach out to touch it — physical evidence that my baby is growing big.
Like I said, it’s just a tooth. But.
She disappears around the corner, her hair flying as she slides sock-footed across wood planks. I hold a pearl and wait.
She reappears, carrying a tiny pillow. It’s the little Tooth Fairy pillow with the red pocket stitched on the front. It’s the pillow and the pocket where I put my own baby teeth, one by one, then waited in the dark for dimes to drop from winged fairies.
Didn’t I just stand before my mama with a gap-toothed grin?
It’s all going so fast.
But you have to let go of what has been, to make room for what is to come. All things must empty in order to be refilled. This life, it’s a constant emptying and refilling, emptying and refilling. It’s a two-step dance, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the one leading.
She opens her mouth to show me the new gap on the bottom row, and I pull down her bottom lip to get a better look. Already, I see the top of a new tooth pushing up through the pink. And I clap my hands and cheer for the new thing. God is always, always doing a new thing …
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
— Isaiah 43:19